Tales from the (start of) 4th Grade

After 70 days of being in my back pocket, this kid starts 4th grade on Wednesday:

I have some reservations about how the new year will go:

#1. His teacher seems young and not very perceptive. After observing Bella running in circles and throwing a temper tantrum over a pen, the teacher asked us, "So, is she one of our new kindergartners?" Uh, yeah.

If the teacher can't surmise that the tantrumy and defiant tiny one with her shoes on the wrong feet is a toddler, how likely is it that she'll correctly analyze and react to Javi's brand of classroom issues. Like how he can't not talk if someone talks to him, feels compelled to tell others what they should or shouldn't be doing, and forgets what he's supposed to be doing because he's so wrapped up in what someone else isn't supposed to be doing.

Looks like I should go ahead and schedule that parent-teacher conference to spell out exactly why and how to handle my son.

#2. Part of Javi's manifestation of ADHD is he thrives on high-intensity sports that allow him to jump and run. Previously we've been loyal to basketball, but this year Javi is playing football. Tackle football to be exact. I had just gotten comfortable with the idea of it when the coach informed us he'll practice Monday through Thursday nights from 6 to 8pm.

Did you catch that? Four days a week until 8 pm at night. His extended summer bedtime is 8:30 pm. How is a child -- especially one that needs every minute of sleep and lots of unstructured downtime to function properly in a classroom -- supposed to succeed in school when they spend that much time running back and forth to catch a ball?

The mountain man shrugs and says simply, It's football as if I'm missing the point. It's football for 9 year olds. And our 9 year old has a disorder that causes impulsivity, fidgeting, and poor focus. I'm not sure how long football will last in this home.

#3. My baby boy is already so distracted. He has chickens to tend to in the mornings and football in the evenings. He has friends who call and friends who message and friends who knock on the door ... all day long. He is 9 years old and his social life is headed steadily and rapidly up the entrance ramp to full-blown 21st century adult.

Focus and impulse control and forgetfulness aside, I'm not ready.


  • Anonymous

    Oh wow. Just wow. There life rolls away on us doesn't it and it's so hard to keep up (for us and them). And I'm completely startled over the football. Really. Why in the world is so much and so late necessary?

    I'm really hoping you have a smooth transition, you deserve it. Here's to few surprises and happy fall days at school.

  • TKW

    Miss D. needs lots of activity--she is so wired when she gets home because it's taken every shred of her self-control to sit and listen and follow school rules. But 8pm? That's just too late! Especially is he has the half hour of homework that she's got (3rd grade). Argh! The juggling of it all!

  • Jack Steiner

    70 days in your back pocket- he must be relieved to be out. ;) Sorry, been teasing my kids about being literal.

    Sounds like an adventure that is going to provide lots of good blog fodder and some good experiences. Good lucky with the 4th grade.

  • Rudri

    Sounds like you are in for an adventure. I can't believe the practices, but then again, I come from TX (where football is king) and so it makes sense to me. Good Luck!

  • Melissa

    Wow. That's a busy schedule. Good luck. Hopefully his teacher was just nervous or not good with little ones.

  • Cheri

    Kelly - sounds to me like you are having a rough week. We had the same issues with practice when our daughters started travel soccer in grade school. Their coach loved to keep them out well past dark, even in the rain. We finally started going to practices and calling them off the field when we were ready to take them home!

  • BigLittlewolf

    Wow. Not easy.

    It sounds like vigilance is the name of the game, though I think you're probably an expert already. Frankly, what many parents lack is the willingness to be vigilant, whether their kids have ADHD or not. Every teacher was a new teacher once; we need more parents who can gently "guide" them to better teach our kids.

    I wish you good luck, lots of stamina, and patience - for your teacher. I haven't been through this with a kid like yours, but I've been through it with two very different little boys. It's not easy. And I couldn't agree more that the expectations of sports involvement are out of kilter with age and academics in any circumstance.

    My two cents.

  • Bibliomama

    Stomp on that football nonsense. And don't be too hard on the teacher -- some of the kids in Eve's grade one class look like three-year-olds.

  • Draft Queen

    The football schedule is nuts. My daughter had a cheering schedule like that and it blew my mind. She couldn't settle down after cheering and it didn't last long because she was wired all night and then too tired to concentrate on her school work.

    Good luck with all of your new changes. We start 4th and 7th grade over here on Thursday.


  • amber_mtmc

    Is there anyway you can change the practice schedule with the coach? I bet that you aren't the only parent worried about the lateness of the practice.

    My brother (with Asperger's) had a doozy of a teacher when he was in second grade, one of the reasons I think it took so long for him to be diagnosed. I can understand your worries.

  • Caroline Ross

    Bella looks like such a Princess in that last picture. And, you should really know, both of your children are VERY lucky to have you as there mama.

  • Liz Aguerre

    I can see why you're apprehensive...between the teacher not realizing she's a TODDLER!...and his schedule (HOLY YIKES!)...but one thing to keep in mind: as someone who once WAS a young and new and slightly clueless teacher, often what those teachers miss in awareness and experience, they make up for in enthusiasm and excitement and energy. Keep me posted!

  • The Drama Mama

    Man I am so nervous for the start of school too. We start after Labor Day, and I haven't met her teacher yet. My biggest question mark right now is whether or not they will continue the system we had in place at the tail end of last year to avoid another repeat of the second half of last year. I was very disappointed that my vigilance is trying to make sure she got the help she needed went ignored. I really hope they don't do that this year. I also hope her teacher is up for the challenge.

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